American Airlines has canceled hundreds of flights that were scheduled over the next month, citing a labor shortage combined with weather delays.
According to Reuters and CNBC, the airline has canceled about 1% of the flights that had been scheduled through mid-July. The company cited a current labor shortage, combined with an increase in demand for travel as more Americans get vaccinated.
The tipping point came earlier this month when the company says severe weather at hub airports in Charlotte and Dallas forced delays in several flights. According to CNBC, weather delays can have long-term impacts on flight crew schedules, as federal laws place limits on how many hours crews can work in specific time periods.
“The bad weather, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July,” an American Airlines spokesperson said in a statement. “We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.”
According to CNN, the 1% reduction in flights adds up to dozens each day. While a spokesperson confirmed that American canceled 120 flights on Saturday, the airline expects to cancel between 50 and 80 flights between now and July 15.
American says it is already in the process of notifying those whose flights have been canceled so they can make travel adjustments.
CNBC reports that American Airlines is in the process of re-training pilots who had been furloughed in late 2020 and early 2021 after federal stimulus aid to airlines expired. The outlet reports that the training should be completed by the of the month.